The Edmond Sun

Local News

October 2, 2012

Survey ranks Oklahoma 42nd in lawsuit climate

EDMOND — A survey of lawyers for U.S. companies that ranks Oklahoma’s lawsuit climate No. 42 does not take into account recent reforms, a spokesman for the governor said.

The 2012 state liability systems ranking, released in September, was conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform to explore how fair and reasonable states’ tort liability systems are and to quantify how corporate attorneys view state systems.

Respondents were a national sample of 1,125 in-house general counsel, senior litigators or attorneys and other senior executives knowledgeable about litigation matters at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue.

Oklahoma’s lawsuit climate was No. 42 in 2012 compared to No.  31 in 2010 and No. 17 in 2008. The states ranked below Oklahoma in 2012 were: Alabama, New Mexico, Montana, Illinois, California, Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia.

Regarding Oklahoma’s score card on elements of its liability systems, the state was No. 31 in timeliness of summary judgment dismissal, No. 39 in discovery and No. 39 in judges’ impartiality. It was also ranked in having and enforcing meaningful venue requirements (No. 41), overall treatment of tort and contract litigation (No. 43), treatment of class action suits and mass consolidation suits (No. 40), damages (No. 43), scientific and technical evidence (No. 31), judges’ competence (No. 45) and juries’ fairness (No. 43).

Lisa A. Rickard, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform president, said some states, like Pennsylvania and West Virginia, are allowing plaintiffs’ lawyers to “forum shop” for favorable venues like Philadelphia to cash in.



Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has often said her main priority is to bring more and better jobs to the state through pro-business reforms that make it a more attractive place for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Alex Weintz, a spokesman for the governor, said part of the reality behind Oklahoma’s ranking is its outdated reputation as having too many lawsuits and too many excessive awards.

In 2011, the governor signed four lawsuit reform measures: House Bill 2128, which put a hard cap of $350,000 on non-economic damages. Weintz said the change is preventing the kind of “jack-pot justice” that pushes businesses and jobs out of the state and into locations with better legal climates.

“Those reforms are working and are already demonstrating results,” Weintz said.

The number of malpractice judgments against doctors, for example, has plummeted to a 10-year low, a development that will help contain medical costs and keep doctors practicing in the state, Weintz said.

Additionally, Fallin signed HB 2024, which authorizes periodic payments instead of lump-sum payments for damages exceeding $100,000; Senate Bill 865, which instructs juries that awards are not subject to taxation; and SB 862, which eliminates joint and several liability.

Fallin also signed SB 878, which rewrites the state’s workers’ compensation laws to reduce costs for businesses and ensure injured workers receive proper care and can return to work in a timely manner, and HB 2038, which authorizes workers’ compensation annual reports and data collection.

Weintz said the governor is watching the effects of the reforms and will determine future steps as warranted.

Earlier this year, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, of Edmond, released his 2012 policy and issues report. One of his main concerns is workers’ compensation. In the report, Lamb stated that reforms passed last year have contributed to an estimated $30 million in cost savings to businesses.

Because of systemic problems, additional reforms have been suggested by business owners, Lamb stated. The policy recommendations cover three main issues — combating fraud, providing coverage options for businesses and changing the makeup of workers’ compensation court judges to stop excessive awards.

Text Only
Local News
  • MS_prisons 1.JPG DOC action could save $36.8 million annually

    The Oklahoma Department of Corrections expects to avert more than 2,100 offenders by 2021 saving more than $36.8 million annually, an audit states.
    Tuesday, State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones  released the results of a performance audit of the DOC that was requested by Gov. Mary Fallin. The audit for the period July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2013, distinctly focused on governance, financial management and capacity management.
    Audit recommendations included:

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • food bank.jpg Regional Food Bank receives donation

    At a special celebration event Wednesday, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced that over the last fiscal year they gave more than $30 million in cash and in-kind contributions to charitable organizations throughout Oklahoma. Additionally, the retailer and its Foundation have partnered with local food banks to provide more than 15 million pounds of food to residents.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man allegedly assaults officer on Tinker AFB

    A metro man faces an assault complaint after he allegedly nearly struck a federal officer with a vehicle during a pursuit that began as a traffic stop on Tinker Air Force Base, court records show.
    Sanford C. Coats, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, said Wednesday a criminal complaint was unsealed charging James Williams, 60, of Del City, with assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon.

    July 30, 2014

  • NAMI classes begin in September

    NAMI Edmond North-OKC, the local organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will offer its Family-to-Family Education Program beginning Sept. 2. It will contine Sept. 4 and 8-9. Classes will be at Crossings Community Church, Quail Springs United Methodist Church, Francis Tuttle Technology Center (Portland campus), Tinker AFB Chapel and the Thunderbird Club House in Norman.
    NAMI Family-to-Family is a free 12-session education program for family caregivers of adults living with mental illness. The sessions are offered once a week for a few hours each.

    July 30, 2014

  • drugs 1.jpg K9 hot on drug trail

    An Oklahoma County deputy and his K9 partner have logged another impressive drug seizure, records show.
    Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Myers said Monday a deputy noticed a car weaving and straddling lanes on I-40 near the Meridian Avenue exit. Myers said the deputy stopped the vehicle and spoke with the two people inside.
    The driver and passenger told conflicting stories about their trip, Myers said. The deputy also smelled marijuana inside of the vehicle, Myers said.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • City spends $1.7 million on ITS

    Public safety will benefit by the Intelligent Transportation System with its implementation by the City of Edmond, said Steve Commons, assistant city manager.
    More vehicles are added to traffic volume as Edmond’s population grows. ITS connects all of the city’s traffic signals in order to improve traffic flow in present time with greater efficiency, Commons said Wednesday.
    “Some of that can be done through computer automation that tracks how traffic is changing,” Commons said.

    July 30, 2014

  • clinic 1.jpg Edmond church to host free eye clinic

    An Edmond church and Feed the Children are partnering to provide a free eye clinic.
    Individuals will be able to receive a free vision test and free prescription eye glasses from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Waterloo Road Baptist Church, 3100 E. Waterloo Road. All ages are welcome and registration is not required.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • weather 1.jpg July could be coolest in weather record books

    With chances for soaking rains and unseasonably cool temperatures becoming frequent, a weather expert is increasingly convinced Oklahoma will end up with a historic July.
    At mid-afternoon Tuesday, the National Weather Service forecast for Edmond called for the high Wednesday to be near 73 with a 90 percent chance of heavy rain, followed by the high Thursday near 78 with a 30 percent chance of showers.
    Highs are expected to remain in the 80s into Monday.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Downtown Master Plan accepted by council

    The 2014 Downtown Master Plan Study was accepted by a 3-0 vote Tuesday evening by the Edmond City Council.
    Fort Worth-based consulting group Freese and Nichols presented their final update to the 1998 Downtown Master Plan. The city hired the group at a cost of $300,000 to make recommendations for future development of Broadway in the central business district.
    “There are clearly some short-term (parking) options that we feel should move forward,” said Cody Richardson, of Freese and Nichols consultants of Fort Worth. “Better signage at existing parking lots.”

    July 29, 2014

  • UCO forensic volunteer wants to aid more agencies

    A four-person group of forensic investigators who volunteer their time to help smaller Oklahoma police departments isn’t enough to meet demand, a member said.
    Kama King, who recently completed her graduate research and will be a member of the faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute, said outside of full-time jobs, members of the group volunteer to assist these agencies.
    As her career progresses, King hopes to help establish a permanently funded organization available to any agency in the state to assist in remains recovery as well as related training.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results